The beauty of Vinyasa yoga is that although you need to execute a series of postures (asana), there aren’t fixed forms where you have to complete the identical sequences in every class. No two classes are the same.
So if you’re interested in taking up yoga, but don’t want to execute the same type of postures on a mat, then Vinyasa yoga might be for you.
Every time you enter the flow state, you’ll begin to notice that you’re slowly moving towards a more sacred connection with your body and mind.
Vinyasa Yoga Overview
Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body.
The purpose of vinyasa yoga is not just about executing the proper poses. It’s about the flow between the poses.
Yes, mastering the sequences should be your goal, but the most important thing about this practice is focusing your energy on your breath and tapping into your subconscious.
As you move from one posture to the next, connect with the patterns, emotions, and habits you want to transform. Then, when you change your mind, you’ll transform your body and master the postures as well.
When you practice this type of yoga, a sequence of poses is executed in a fluid, continuous manner. Each posture operates on an inhale or exhale. Inhalation connects to upward, open movements and exhales connect to downward movements or twists.
There are debates whether “set sequence” styles of yoga such as Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, and power yoga fall under the category of Vinyasa yoga.
Many believe they do, though, because they incorporate step-by-step sequences that emphasize the breath. These styles of yoga are meant to create a flow in the body and operate as a moving meditation to slow down the mind.
What Does Vinyasa Mean?
The term Vinyasa comes from the Sanskrit term Nyasa which means “to place,” and the prefix Vi, which means “in a special way.”
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
There are many benefits when it comes to practicing Vinyasa yoga.
Although few studies prove Vinyasa yoga’s benefits, such as increased endurance, some studies show acute mood and stress relief improvements.
Studies also show that Vinyasa yoga is a great light-intensity aerobic physical activity.
In addition, yoga instructors state that Vinyasa yoga classes can strengthen your knees, elbows, spine, and heels. This practice can also increase overall mobility.
Is Vinyasa Yoga Dangerous?
Vinyasa yoga can be dangerous if you’re not correctly executing the moves.
For example, it’s very easy to get injured practicing Vinyasa if a posture like sun salutations, plank pose, downward-facing dog, and an upward facing dog is not completed correctly. You can even hurt yourself by practicing this style of yoga if you move faster than you should while doing transitions.
Although Vinyasa yoga classes can operate at a quicker pace compared to other styles of yoga, don’t rush the movements. Awareness of your body while going through the movements is one of the most critical ways not to get injured.
Can You Lose Weight Doing Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic yoga practice, so it can be considered a cardio workout. This means that you can burn many calories, which leads to weight loss when practicing Vinyasa flow yoga. However, calories burned do fluctuate depending on your size, the intensity of the class, and your familiarity with the movements.
Studies show that bodyweight loss and body fat reduction are possible for those who incorporate a regular Vinyasa flow yoga practice into their lives. So this yoga style is a special way to switch things up in your workout schedule.
Does Vinyasa Yoga Tone Your Body?
There isn’t enough research to prove that Vinyasa yoga can tone the body, but yoga teachers state that a long-term practice can improve muscle tone.
How Often Should You Do Vinyasa Yoga?
One should practice Vinyasa yoga around three to five times a week. On your off days, you should let your body rest and recover. Some yogis can train six days a week, but you have to listen to your body and build up to that type of practice.
How to Practice Vinyasa Yoga
It’s highly recommended that you join a beginner Vinyasa class so that you can learn the correct postures and sequences. If you do not know the right movements, you can injure yourself.
What’s the Difference Between Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga?
Hatha yoga refers to all physical yoga practices, and that includes Vinyasa yoga.
Not all yoga is Hatha yoga, but Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga are one and the same.
Although they incorporate similar poses, some differences are that Vinyasa yoga moves faster and requires better breathing control than Hatha yoga. Also, since Hatha yoga is a slower practice, there are more stretching movements.
What Can I Expect From a Vinyasa Yoga Class?
Most Vinyasa classes start with intention setting and end with relaxation, but the actual class structure depends on your teacher.
In some classes, teachers call out poses, and students will execute the poses. Whereas in other classes, the teacher will instruct students how to do a posture. Some Vinyasa classes can combine different yoga styles, and some studios can be heated.
Before going to a class, make sure that you’re not pushing past your skill level.
If you’re a beginner Vinyasa student, there are classes for you. Don’t feel pressured into practicing at a pace that you’re not comfortable with until you’re ready to advance.
Vinyasa Yoga Tips for Beginners
A Vinyasa yoga class can be fast-paced, so if you’re a beginner, take extra precaution and care with your movements. In your class, if you become overwhelmed with the pace, your teacher will help you adjust to learning the yoga posture names and basics of the poses.
The Bottom Line: Is Vinyasa Yoga For Me?
If you’re looking for a diverse, fast-paced practice where you’ll break a sweat, sign up to practice Vinyasa yoga at one of the yoga studios near you.
Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer for Celebribody. Her work has been featured on Hunker, Matador Network, Elite Daily, and PopSugar, among others. Most of her day is spent writing, but she loves to garden and incorporate dance workouts into her weekly workout schedule when she has the chance.